Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight'
Butterfly Bush
 
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Family: Logania family (Loganiaceae)
Native Habitat: Central and Western China
   

General Butterfly Bush Info:
Butterfly Bush gives the gardener more bang for the buck than nearly any other shrub. It's not a perfect plant, but oh the flowers! And, oh the fragrance! And, oh wow!, the butterflies! It produces incredible numbers of colorful and fragrant flower panicles from early summer until frost. You can't say that about many shrubs.

In our zone 5 climate it acts as a "die-back" shrub. That is, the woody branches will die back to the crown every winter. Just prune the dead branches down to living wood in spring (look for swelling buds to see where the living wood begins) and it will quickly re-grow for another season of "Oh Wow". It only blooms on new wood so you really haven't lost anything when it dies back over winter. In the south they can grow to 10 or even 15 ft. and provide a lot more pruning work than here in the north.

It's often not the longest lived shrub. In order to give it the best winter survivability, be sure to plant in a sunny area in soil that's fairly well drained (especially so in winter). It hates soggy winter soils and just might die out of spite if you don't give it what it wants!

This Variety:
'Black Knight' is an older variety, introduced in 1959, and still one of the best. It's especially hardy and has fantastic dark violet to purple blooms. The form is a little more leggy and open than some of the newer varieties.

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Ornamental Characteristics:

Panicles of dark purple flowers beginning in early summer and continuing bloom until frost. Heaviest bloom in July and August. Incredibly fragrant.
Habit & Growth Rate: Fast growing to 5 ft. high and 3 to 4 ft. wide.
Landscape Uses: Mixed border. Shrub border. Butterfly garden- attracts an amazing number of butterflies. Deer resistant.
Hardiness: Zone 5 to 9
Culture: Full sun and well drained soils are best. Treat as a "die-back" shrub here in Zone 5. Prune back to live wood in spring. For extra winter protection, prune back in fall and place a rose cone over the plant for winter.
Awards: Award of Garden Merit, Royal Horticultural Society